Published on 01/22/20

UGA welcomes USDA Chief Economist for 35th annual J.W. Fanning Lecture on economics

By Chad Cain

U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Robert Johansson will be in Athens on Feb. 17 to present his talk, “U.S. Farm Outlook for 2020 – Policy and Uncertainty,” at 10:30 a.m. as part of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences J.W. Fanning Lecture.

From changes in weather patterns and demographics to shifts in trade policy, farmers and agricultural officials have a lot to plan around these days.

That’s a truth that USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson deals with daily as he helps compile the data needed by agricultural decision-makers to plan their production years and business plans.

“We are very honored to have Dr. Johansson be our guest speaker for this year’s Fanning Lecture,” said Professor Octavio Ramirez, head of the CAES Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. “His work as USDA’s chief economist helps shape policies and trade agreements that have a profound impact on the competitiveness of our agricultural sector. We look forward to learning from his experiences and perspectives on these important matters.”

The Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) for the USDA helps advise the Secretary of Agriculture on several aspects of the industry, including “economic implications of policies and programs that affect the U.S. food and fiber system in rural areas.” It also supports USDA policy decision making in ways such as analyzing the impact of policy proposals and coordinating a response among different USDA agencies.

Johansson received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University. After graduation, he served with the U.S. Peace Corps where he took on the role of an Extension agent in several African countries.

He later received both his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics at the University of Minnesota. His research areas include biofuels policy, water quality and quantity policies, regulatory economics, regional modeling of agricultural systems, and food security.

The Fanning lecture is held in conjunction with a private awards program; the public is invited to attend the talk free of charge. Email with any questions and to RSVP. 

For more information about the role of the chief economist at the USDA visit For more information about the work being done in the UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics visit






Chad Cain is a student writer for the CAES Office of Communications and Creative Services.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
Download Image